Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess – who’s been a member of the fold since 1999 – remembered being invited to join the band way back in ’94 after original keyboardist Kevin Moore left the band.
He told Jimmy Kay about how he initially turned the guys down because at the same time he also got an offer to join Dixie Dregs (transcribed by UG):
“I was exposed to the band by a friend of mine, a guitar player who was doing interviews with different bands at the time.
“He told me about this band of great players. These guys were like virtuosos, they were amazing, playing progressive music and metal. And he brought the stuff over to my house to listen to.
“I heard some of it and I thought, ‘Wow, these guys are really, really good.’ I heard the progressive elements, I heard metal and virtuosity, and I thought, ‘This is really cool.’
“Well, through a couple of different connections – my name started to spread around. The other thing that connected me with Dream Theater was that they were all voted the best new talent in their respective instruments in the magazines.
“And I was in that particular year when they were opening it up and looking who was the best new talent. They were hearing my name from different people and so they ended up giving me a call to audition for the group.
“Actually, as the story goes, at first I didn’t accept the offer. I agreed to do one show. Now James [LaBrie] is telling the story on stage every night basically because we’re revisiting history.
“I agreed to do one show called the Foundations Forum and after I did that show in ’94 or something – I did that and I said ‘No.’
“I ended up joining Dixie Dregs [who offered me to join the band around the same time DT did] and then I played with Portnoy and Petrucci in side-project Liquid Tension Experiment.
“And after a couple of albums doing that and getting along really well with the guys, musically and personally, they asked me again and I said ‘Okay, now I’ll join.’ That was almost 20 years ago.”